« AnteriorContinuar »
shall not find the leader of the craving of the people. A our hopes until we meet with loud voice has but to raise a a statesman who has faith in clamour, and it can get whatquiet action and plain speech, ever it likes. Those whose plain who does not believe that the duty it once was to resist the enworld can be remade merely croachments of greed and folly by talking about it.
have lost faith in themselves. For many years surrender It saves trouble to run away. has been the sole hope and No principle, we are told, is policy of our demagogues. Not worth a fight which may end only have the demagogues given disastrously, and the result of the people whatever they this evil creed is that our thought they wanted, they have Constitution
bas been desyielded, without a murmur, to troyed, and we face the future the country's bitterest foes. without safeguards and withThe term “Die-hard,” which out security. should be a title of praise, long Of the gallant attempt to ago passed, among cunning hold the pass against anarchy politicians, to a term of re- in 1911, we are reminded by Lord proach. And as we look back Willoughby de Broke’s posthumon the history of the last twentyous work, The Passing Years' years, we see plainly that it is (London : Constable & Co.) the champions of surrender, It is a book of great value and not the Die-hards, who have interest for many reasons. It been our undoing. There is is written with vigour and a only one way of ensuring the keen sense of style. It paints a respect of friends and the fear picture of life as it was lived of enemies—adherence to prin- in England thirty years ago, as ciple. He who persists in it is not likely ever to be lived doing what he believes to be again. “The object of this right rather than
than what he book," says the author in his knows to be expedient may Dedication, “is to set down a fail for the moment; he is few impressions and ideas of assured of victory in the end. one who was born in time to Now one of the last chances appreciate the dignity of the that was given to us to assert Victorian era ; who tasted the the value of principle was in luxury of the Edwardian period 1911, when the Parliament Bill at just the right time of life was accepted by a cowardly ma- to be able to enjoy it; and who jority of the Peers. Ever since has felt the changes and chances then we have been tumbling that have made history during downhill. We have not only the reign of King George V.” satisfied, we have anticipated, and in achieving these obsuch crimes reported for the whole of Great Britain.” And Mr Theodore Dreiser has the temerity to assert that “no country has such a peculiar, such a seemingly fierce, determination to make the Ten Commandments work." Thus is practical life commonly divorced from “uplift.”
jects, Lord Willoughby's book English life. During the last is less a picture of modern life few months of his life," says than a piece of archæology. Lady Willoughby de Broke in The changes and chances have her introduction," he had been proved too strong for us. We very much struck by the lamentboasted not long since a happy able results arising in many prosperous country, and for cases from the passing of family lack of faith or lack of courage places—the lovely old homes of we have allowed the envenomed England-away from those who and the envious to destroy that had been born and brought up which was worth dying for. in them, and who possessed Moreover, Lord Willoughby's by tradition the natural inbook is especially interesting stinct to act as friend and at this time, not only because neighbour to all those living it contains an account of the on the estate.
He had disastrous years which led up meant to make a very earnest to the Parliament Bill, but effort to put before the new because he has incidentally owners what an ideal relationdrawn, in painting himself, the ship it could be, and to appeal portrait of what in earlier to them at least to try the old days would have been called traditional ways of friendly “the compleat Tory."
intercourse and interest in one And he was a complete Tory and all living on their land." in this: he reverenced with Thus he made the best of his a constant heart the traditions own loss, and subordinated of his country. He had a regret itself to the service of natural dislike of change and England. chance. He was unwilling to Such was the man who played barter that which had stood a foremost part in the Die-hard the test of time for a new order campaign of 1911. When he of things, whose effect no man succeeded his father in 1902, might gauge. He was born to as he tells us, he thought that a pleasant inheritance, which he had renounced politics for he did not undervalue, and he ever.
The Conservative gladly acknowledged all the Party," he writes, “was in a
' duties which he was asked to majority in both Houses of discharge as a landlord, a Peer, Parliament; even with the and a Master of Hounds. At best intentions, work in the Compton Verney his neighbours House of Lords did not afford were his friends, and even when a full life ; such work as a he saw his own house and the back-bench Peer wanted to do houses of many of his friends need not interfere with huntpass into other hands, he wasted ing; questions could be asked no time in repining at an in- on non-hunting days ; comevitable loss. He looked about mittees could be attended to him to see what could be done in the summer-time.” And to preserve the continuity of then a few years later, Mr
Lloyd George's Budget was Lord Willoughby came back thrown out, and the House of to Parliament to do his share, Lords was bitterly attacked. and more than his share, in The class war, which has led defence of the House to which to many disasters, was de- he belonged. Events moved clared by Messrs Lloyd George swiftly. Everybody wanted and Churchill. The people were something, as usual. Mr Redtold that it was not getting mond wanted Home Rrle ; Mr what it wanted. The House Asquith wanted Mr Redmond's of Commons knew without tell- support, and this he could not ing that a check was being put obtain unless
him upon its extravagant desires. the “guarantees,” as they were The Liberal Party would not called, that the King would admit that the House of Lords create as many Peers as were had the power to compel the required to ensure Mr RedGovernment either to resign or mond his majority. The King to dissolve Parliament. So died without giving the “guarthe false cry was raised of the antees,” and in despair a conPeers against the People, and ference called of both the battle was fought to the Parties, which should discuss bitter end. If political strife the question beyond a locked be anything better than tactics, door. Of this artifice, which it must now be acknowledged was an open confession of imthat the House of Lords was potence, Lord Willoughby and right in throwing out the Bud- his friends profoundly disapget. It was a bad Budget; it proved. A real quintessential has done infinite harm to the Die-hard," he said, " although country ;
and the vexatious he may not say so, never enclauses relating to the land were tirely trusts his leaders not to justly abolished some years ago. sell the pass behind his back.” But the Radicals had found a The real Die-hards were justi“cry.” They had actually been fied of their distrust on this denied what they asked for, and occasion. The conference they were determined to punish failed, it is true, but the cunthe Peers for their temerity. ning or the lassitude of the
The House of Lords, of course, official Conservative Peers dehad done no more than their feated the Die-hards when the duty. They had done their hour of crisis arrived. best to protect the people Lord Willoughby threw himagainst what Cromwell called self into the struggle with all
an omnipotent House of Com- his energy. He was tireless in mons—the horridest arbitrari- organising the Die-hards, and ness that ever existed in the in strengthening the minds of world.” But the fact that it the waverers. Even after the had done its duty did not pro- Bill had passed the Commons, tect it from the slanders of the Lords appeared to be rethe outraged Radicals. And solute in their courage. Lord VOL. OCXVI.-NO. MCCCVIII.
Curzon himself led the Opposi- or less they will, every one of tion-for a moment. Let them, be as sound a Tory as them make their Peers,” he I am.”
we will die in the last The matter was not put to the ditch before we give in." It test. The Die-hard movement, was Lord Curzon who thus gave of which a good account is conthe Die-hards the name by tributed to Lord Willoughby's which they are presently known. book by another hand, failed. They fought the destroyers of The "ditchers ”suffered a quick the Constitution as "ditchers," change, and came forth and before many days were “hedgers." Once more
the passed Lord Curzon himself was people had got what it thought foremost among the “hedgers." it wanted, and the unreality of The situation would have been politics was displayed in gaudy comic had it not been a dire colours. It had been put on tragedy. The Radicals, who record that the Peers of Eng. had denounced the hereditary land had not fought, tooth Chamber with all the bitterness and nail, for the Constitution that was theirs, proposed to and for their own House. The add several hundreds of new democratic spirit of surrender Peers to increase its shame. had won another battle, and Whether they would have added we have gone on surrendering the new Peers or not we do not ever since. But it should be know. We do know that they remembered to the credit of had innumerable applications Lord Willoughby de Broke that from stalwart Radicals, eager he never hung back from the to join those whom Mr Lloyd combat, that he spoke to hosGeorge had called bloodsuckers tile audiences with a force and and land-robbers. Lord Wil- ' strength which none of his loughby was not dismayed at rivals could surpass, that he the prospect. "Won't all these marshalled the stalwarts and fellows feel uncomfortable and put fresh heart into the timid, out of it when they come and that it was not his fault here? a friend said to him. nor the fault of the other Die. “Not at all,” he answered. “I hards if our ancient Constitushall make a point of knowing tion was shattered in pieces, them all, take them round the or if the proper habit of resistHouse, show them everything, ance was abolished for ever. and I am prepared to bet you And all to give the people 1000 to 10 that in six months what it wanted !
Printed in Great Britain by
TOWARDS the end of the war potamian plain to the southern it fell to the lot of the writer shores of the Caspian Sea. to conduct one of the numerous The place selected for headGilbertian enterprises which quarters was Sennah, the capitook place in odd corners of tal of the Persian province of Persia.
This is a very It was just at this period ancient and rather famous town that Dunsterforce, that amazing of some 30,000 inhabitants, medley of gallant colonials, situated in a cup in the Kurdish opera bouffe intelligence offi- hills. No one in Mesopotamia, cers, amateur diplomatists, and however, seemed to know much cheery subalterns, was reducing about it, except that it was the already involved affairs of situated some 120 miles to North-Western Persia into a the west of the main Persian final chaos, from which ap- road, and that the badness of parently they have never get the tracks leading to it and succeeded in recovering. the nature of the country made
The task allotted to the it very difficult to reach from writer was to raise a local either Kermanshah or Hamaforce to act as a tactical link dan, the nearest points on the between the heterogeneous col- main line of communication lection of Dunsterforce and from wbich it could be supthe more prosaic and less dash- ported. At the same time, ing legions in Mesopotamia, and the tribes in the neighbourto form a flank-guard to part hood were said to be fierce of the endless lines of com- and truculent, but not badly munication which stretched disposed to the British if proaway northward from the Meso- perly handled.
VOL. CCXVI.—NO. MOCCIX.